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24, January 2015

Searching the Library and Research Center: Missouri Mystery, Magick, and Poetry

During my first year as a graduate assistant at the Missouri History Museum, I was conducting research in the Library and Research Center when I came across a book in the card catalog titled The Water Witch. Being a lover of all things magical, I was intrigued and requested the book from the stacks. While it wasn’t a long-lost tome of ancient magick, I nevertheless found myself enchanted. It turned out to be an absolutely delightful book of Missouri poetry that was published in 1924. Read more »

23, January 2015

Experience German Heritage at the Museum's Cultural Fest

With a rich heritage, Germans have long been a part of St. Louis history. In 1824, a German man named Gottfried Duden spent three years living in Missouri, and when he returned home and published his book Report on a Journey to the Western States, he was called the dream spinner. But soon, early German immigrants, like Friedrich Steines, were writing letters home to their relatives urging them to come to America too. Read more »

15, January 2015

Tour Utopia with a Curator on Tuesdays

The history of Utopia – Revisiting a German State in America actually goes back to 2009, when I received an email from filmmaker Peter Roloff asking me if "there anything left that is German in Missouri." Writing from Berlin, Roloff was looking for traces of the Giessen Emigration Society, whose members had arrived in Missouri in 1834. He had contacted me as I was working on a biography of Friedrich Muench, the group's founder. Read more »

14, January 2015

What the South Park Guys Left Out of The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon is playing this week at the Peabody Opera House in St. Louis. When I saw the show a couple of years ago, everyone in the audience cheered during the song “I Believe” when the main character sings, “I believe that the Garden of Eden was in Jackson County, Missouri....” I bet most Missourians were pretty surprised to learn, as I was, that Mormons do believe that the Garden was on the other side of our fair state. Read more »

12, January 2015

Reflections on the Immigrant Experience

As I walk into the Missouri Immigrant Experience installation I am greeted by countless faces. They look at me from pictures posted all over the walls, some grainy and black and white and others in modern color. Within each image, I find a unique story. I watch as a group of fresh-faced European immigrants arrive on a platform in Union Station in the late 1840s. I observe a group of German women performing a dance in Carondelet Park in the 1900s. I even glimpse a Russian immigrant giving blood for a Social Security test in 1990. Read more »

9, January 2015

Comparing the Past and Present through Technology


A staff member for Expedia Viewfinder explains how they've teamed up with the Missouri History Museum in St. Louis to discuss historical landmarks users can view through the Historic St. Louis phone app. 
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31, December 2014

A Fabulous New Year's Eve

How are you celebrating New Year’s Eve? Thinking back about books we’ve published at MHM, I recall many stories about New Year’s through the decades, but the one that I enjoy the most is from Gail Milissa Grant’s At the Elbows of My Elders. Read more »

24, December 2014

How Santa Got His Suit

The image of Santa Claus is widely recognizable. But how did Santa come to look as he does today? Santa’s transition began long before he started drinking cola to pull off a gift-giving round-the-world all-nighter. Santa Claus is a hybrid figure, and while he may have descended from the bishop Saint Nicholas, he has evolved into a secular figure from the influence of many people over the years.

John Pintard and Washington Irving Read more »

19, December 2014

A Day for Descendants

On December 13 at the Missouri History Museum, I enjoyed the greatest pleasure in meeting more than 50 people who shared the fact that their ancestors had been members of the original Giessen Emigration Society. There were descendants from the Arens, Berg, Hillenkamp, Kunze, Molitor, Muench, Schieffer, Schone, Freymuth, Wehrheim, Weinrich, and Mades families, a special day of programming planned around the Museum's Utopia: Revisiting a German State in America exhibit. Read more »

17, December 2014

Mid-Century St. Louis Through the Lens of the Mac Mizuki Photography Studio Collection

For the past year, I have had the great pleasure of processing the Mac Mizuki Photography Studio collection at the Museum. This collection contains negatives and other material created by Henry T. “Mac” Mizuki in the course of operating his independent photography studio. My job has been to rehouse and catalog the 1,590 separate job assignments included in the collection. Mizuki opened his studio around 1953 and remained in business until his retirement in 1985 or 1986. Read more »